5 Tips for Safely Driving in the Rain
Every year around this time, hurricanes and tumultuous weather fronts bring massive rainstorms. Whether you’re driving to escape the storm or still trying to commute during the downpour, it’s important that you adjust your driving habits due to the precarious road conditions. Here are some tips for safely driving in the rain at any time of the year.
Want More Driving Tips for Bad Weather? Here are some suggestions for safely controlling your car in strong winds
Wipe off the wiper blades
Your car’s windshield wipers are crucial for having decent visibility in the rain, so make sure that they’re up to the task. Dirty or dried-out blades can be a hazard. If the wipers are leaving noticeable streaks, try pulling over and using a napkin to wipe off the rubber edge and remove any dirt.
If that doesn’t solve the problem, or if you notice cracks in the rubber, head to a car parts store and buy a new set of wiper blades. Be proactive about this maintenance by replacing the wipers once a year — regardless of the weather.
Tend to the tires
Your car relies on its tires to firmly grip the road, so tires with insufficient traction can be dangerous in the rain. Make sure they’re always adequately inflated and have plenty of tread depth remaining (here’s an easy way to test).
Here’s another piece of advice: Don’t use cruise control when you’re driving in the rain or on wet pavement. It’s imperative that you retain control over your car’s speed and when it changes speeds. Relying on the cruise control system could lead to your car braking or accelerating at the worst times, resulting in hydroplaning.
Turn the headlights on
Headlights aren’t just for use at night. Visibility can be severely reduced in rainy weather, and turning on your headlights can help you regain some of that lost visibility. Plus, using headlights allows other drivers on the road to see you better — especially if your car is a dark or monochromatic color.
Your car’s headlamps should always be set to “Auto” so they turn on automatically on cloudy days or when the sun is setting. If that function isn’t available on your car, make it a practice to turn your lights on any time your windshield wipers are on. In states like Ohio, it’s the law to have your headlights on if your wipers are on.
Keep your distance
Rain makes the roads slick and can affect stopping distance. Tailing the car in front of you is always a stupid idea, but it’s even more so when the roads are wet. If the car in front of you brakes suddenly, it’s going to take you longer to come to a stop on a wet road than on a dry one, so staying back can help prevent accidents.
Avoid puddles and flooded areas
Even if you drive a monster truck, navigating a flooded road is a bad idea. You often can’t tell how deep a puddle or flooded area is until you’re in it — and if it turns out to be deeper than expected, you’ll be in trouble.
Even four-wheel-drive vehicles are no match for severely flooded roadways, so your best option is to turn around and find an alternate route. Sure it’s inconvenient, but it’s much better than drenching the electronic components in your car and causing it to stall.
Taking this advice for driving in the rain and ensure that you avoid dangerous habits and situations. It may help you avoid hydroplaning or getting stuck in deep water.
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.